The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Adjunctive mycobacteriophage therapy to treat intractable infections

Pidot group

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections are an increasing global health threat and cause significant morbidity and mortality especially in immunocompromised and elderly patients. These bacteria cause a range of infections from lung and skin to disseminated forms, with increasing incidence and severity worldwide, and are difficult to treat due to inherent antibiotic resistance of many NTM species. The use of mycobacteriophage, viruses that infect and kill mycobacterial cells, may provide an alternative treatment option to patients with these infections. To provide this option, bacteriophage cocktails specific to each patient’s infection need to be produced from a bank of well characterised mycobacteriophage. However, few such mycobacteriophage collections exist and none are available within Australia. This project will involve the identification of lytic mycobacteriophage active against major NTM pathogens and the subsequent characterisation and development of these into therapeutic grade phage cocktails to use in conjunction with antibiotics to treat multidrug resistant, persistent NTM infections. Through this project, students will develop skills in bacteriology, virology, molecular biology and genomics as part of a bedside-bench-bedside platform to identify mycobacteriophage active against patient-specific NTM infections.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Sacha Pidot

Project Co-supervisor

Professor Tim Stinear

Project availability
PhD/MPhil
Master of Biomedical Science

Pidot group

sacha.pidot@unimelb.edu.au

2 vacancies

Themes
Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Genomics

The Pidot group is a multi-disciplinary team that works across microbiology, genomics and biological chemistry to identify new antimicrobials and investigate their biosynthesis. While bacteria can be killed by antibiotics, many bacteria are also adept at producing antimicrobials, especially those from the actinomycete family. We primarily study human pathogenic actinomycetes (Nocardia and Mycobacterium, among others), which have not been well investigated previously and represent a source of untapped antibiotic potential. Our group uses a range of techniques from DNA sequencing to molecular biology through to mass spectrometry to identify and study the next generation of antimicrobial candidates.


Pidot group Current Projects